We sat down with Yankees Pitching Coordinator Nardi Contreras to get his thoughts on what Joba…
Kennedy Sharp In Triple-A Debut
"Coming into the first inning my adrenaline was pumping, I don't want to say nerves, but my adrenaline was pumping, Ian Kennedy said of his Triple-A debut.
He retired the side in the first, but got himself in trouble with a four-pitch walk in the second, followed by a long single. With men on first and third and one out, he got back to back strikeouts to escape the jam.
"In those situations you have to slow everything down. If you speed up, you'll give up three runs and look back and what the heck just happened. I know you have to slow the game down and make one pitch at a time," he said speaking of the second inning, "That's all I tried doing. Okay, after this pitch, see what happens after that, instead of looking too far ahead."
Hitting the corners well, Kennedy pitched into the sixth inning where good defense helped him escape out of a 1st and 3rd jam. He retired the side with a pop up to the third base side after throwing 87 pitches (59 of them for strikes).
He credits the mental aspect of his game and the guidance of past coaches, as well as his parents for his ability to handle such situations.
"Honestly, it's just the way I am. That's just my style of pitching, trying to stay poised. My parents always said don't show emotion out there. Don't let them know you're being beat and don't show them up either."
While he hopes to avoid those situations he was involved in both the second and the sixth inning, he was proud of his ability to escape without a run crossing the plate.
"You can be proud of yourself for getting out of those situations. You try not to be in those situations. There's going to be a game where every inning may be like that," he said. "I was happy with the way those innings turned out. Like I said, you've got to slow yourself down when that happens."
The California native was happy with his overall performance, delivering six innings, only allowing two hits and walking two, while striking out six.
"My fastball command was a little better than normal. I was really happy with the way tonight [Saturday] went," he said.
Kennedy's fastball command was definitely on, and he also found success with his changeup in the six-inning performance. His curveball did hit the dirt on a few occasions, however.
"My curveball felt pretty good today. You saw that it bounced a little bit. I'm happy with my command though."
The 22-year old wasn't aware of the pitch count assigned to him for the game, but was happy to get six innings of work in.
"I don't know what the limit was, but as of late it's been 100 pitches. They let me go as close as I came to that. I knew I threw low enough pitch counts after the second or third. I was hoping to come out [for the 6th inning] maybe even for the 7th."
As for Kennedy's thoughts on his quick ascension to Triple-A, he has surprised himself.
"I was actually hoping to be in Trenton at this time. I was really surprised when I got here. Of course I want to continue doing well," he said. "All I can do is make pitches and keep us in the game every time."
Keeping Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in the game is exactly what he did. While the Yankees fell 3-0 in his debu, Kennedy wound up with a no decision. He did however give the fans in attendance a small glimpse of what he has to offer the Yankees organization.
"That's the way baseball is, you throw a good game, and you hope to wind up getting run support. All I can do is give my team a chance to win."
Happy with the quick success he's had already this season, Kennedy's own expectations of himself are simple.
"I just want to have quality outings, and be efficient with my pitches. I have to execute my pitches well; I always aim for 90 percent execution. That's the only thing I can try and do. As soon as the ball is thrown, I don't have much control after that," he concluded.
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